Rhubarb bundt cake v.2

Rhubarb bundt cake, take two… and this time I made sure I had the icing sugar required. I followed the same recipe as previously, but this time I whisked the ingredients for much longer so the mixture was light and fluffy. All was looking good when I took it out of the oven; it had risen beautifully, so I left it to cool in the tin. Then disaster struck once again! I came back to the cake an hour or so later and my lovely, risen cake had shrivelled up in the tin and was half the height. Why?!?

There was nothing I could do about it, so I removed the wrinkly mass from the tin and prepared the icing made from rhubarb syrup and icing sugar. I had rather a lot of syrup so drizzled some of it into the cake à la last time and made icing with the rest. The rhubarb syrup gave the icing a lovely natural pink colour whilst also making the inside of the cake nice and gooey.

See? Sunken and gooey inside!
See? Sunken and gooey inside!

The cake still tasted delicious and with the icing didn’t look so bad, but I’m at a loss for why it sank so badly – is that what adding Greek yogurt does to a cake?

Looking better with its icing drizzle
Looking better with its icing drizzle

Recipe here: http://www.deliciouseveryday.com/rhubarb-bundt-cake/

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Dyed rug

I had a plain cream-coloured rug that I didn’t really like as it showed up every little piece of dust, fluff and stuff and needed constant vacuuming – lazy reason to dislike, I know. I turned to Pinterest for ideas to tart it up, but came up with tie-dye, fringing and other ideas I either disliked or couldn’t do. So in the end it wasn’t really a Pinterest project, but since I spent some time researching ideas, I’m going to count it as one! In the end I simply bought a box of dye (Dylon emerald green) which didn’t need mountains of salt but rather just went straight in the washing machine with the rug and did its job.

The solution to a lack of Pinterest inspiration!
The solution to a lack of Pinterest inspiration!

It’s not the best dye-job, and it is patchy in places, but it was my first one and I much prefer it to the old colour. Perhaps now my crochet skills are improving (more on that in a future post when the project is complete) I may be able to add some colourful edging to it, but for now, it’s on the floor and doesn’t need vacuuming all the time – result!

Looking good in its new home
Looking good in its new home (and matches the bedding rather well)

Granola

At my favourite place to go for breakfast in the lovely Wimbledon Village, they do a ‘granola parfait’ – natural yogurt, granola and fresh fruit – and it’s delish. So I decided to create my own version in my kitchen; after all, I can’t go out for breakfast every weekend!

My inspiration... yum!
My inspiration… yum!

I searched for some easy granola recipes and found one that only needed five ingredients, and five ingredients I had in the cupboard already. It called for oats (naturally), oil, honey, vanilla extract and brown sugar. It was easy to make – just mix the lot in a bowl and spread the mixture over a baking tray (use baking paper so it doesn’t stick to the tray) and bake. Halfway through I added some chopped almonds and desiccated coconut for a bit of added flavour. I baked it for longer than the suggested 30 minutes as it looked rather anaemic; it was more like 45 minutes in the oven.

It tastes lovely but it is very crumbly – it doesn’t stick together in clumps and clusters like usual granola, but on reading other recipes, I see that adding egg white or extra syrup to the mixture helps with that. It is really tasty sprinkled over natural yogurt and fruit… or the unhealthy version, sprinkled over ice cream. Now I just need to make a new clay tag for the jar!

It *was* full...
It *was* full…
Granola in action
Granola in action

Recipe here: http://www.superhealthykids.com/homemade-granola-only-5-ingredients/

Crochet bracelet

Crochet has been my long-term project this summer and I’ve been (slowly) working on a blanket with just a simple double crochet stitch as I’m not ready for anything more fancy than that yet… granny squares can wait!

My sister sent me the Pin for this one; crochet bracelets which didn’t look beyond my capabilities so I gave one a go. The instructions weren’t great for a novice such as myself, and making the loop at the end for the button to go through was a struggle, with lots of undoing and starting again, so I ended up cobbling something together which is probably nothing like the instructions say. Also attaching the button was my own brainwave as by that point I’d given up on the instructions completely.

It looks… ok… if you don’t look too closely, but in all honesty I’d probably never wear it (so if you want it, just ask!) but maybe when my crochet skills are a bit more honed, I’ll have another go.

Not my best...
Not my best…

Link here: http://www.1dogwoof.com/2014/02/crochet-wrap-bracelet-button.html

Rhubarb bundt cake

My second Pinterest rhubarb recipe. As lovely as the French rhubarb cake was, I was keen to try another recipe… and to use my new bundt cake tin! I found several recipes, but chose this one for the interesting addition of Greek yogurt to the cake mix, and making rhubarb syrup for the icing… Though that was a little ill-fated (more on that later!)

How it was *supposed* to look
How it was *supposed* to look

The recipe was very easy to follow and did make enough mix to fill the bundt tin. But then disaster! I didn’t read the recipe properly to see that I needed icing sugar to mix with the syrup for the ‘drizzle’ on top. I came up with an alternative though, and that was to treat it like a lemon drizzle cake and poke holes in the top of the baked cake and pour the syrup over it. This would have worked really well had it not been for the fact that I hadn’t quite baked the cake for long enough, and also I could have done with whisking it more to make it a lot airier, as the resulting cake was delicious but very dense and gooey inside. I’ll know what to do next time!

How it turned out... not the prettiest, but damn tasty!
How it turned out… not the prettiest, but damn tasty!

Recipe here: http://www.deliciouseveryday.com/rhubarb-bundt-cake/

Painted glass bottles

I’d seen glass bottles painted in various ways on Instagram and Pinterest, and I’d slowly been collecting interesting jars and bottles over the last few months to have a go at painting. I liked bottles with raised lettering as they add a little bit of extra detail.

After looking on Pinterest to see if I could just paint on emulsion, or use primer, or use chalk paint, I found a good website that suggested a layer of blackboard paint (good thing I still had a huge tin of this left!) then layers of emulsion paint – the blackboard paint would give the chalky finish I wanted.

This took some time as each layer had to dry thoroughly before starting the next coat, and it was also fiddly due to the shape of the bottles. Then it was time for decoration. I’d chosen shades of blue to match the colour scheme in my bedroom (curtains for inspiration again!), and the cream and red hearts to match a small jug on my kitchen window sill. I then had two spare bottles that I decorated any old way to go in the spare bedroom. I used some sandpaper to brush over the raised lettering, to make it stand out too.

Pretty!
Pretty!

The whole process was quite long – two days – but worth the time… I think!

Link here: https://loveoffamilyandhome.net/2014/04/how-to-paint-mason-jars.html

Blackberry pie slice

In the local area there are loads of bramble bushes and you no longer have to wait until October for blackberries – the bushes are heaving with them now. I managed to collect two boxes full but didn’t have the apples for a crumble, so Pinterest to the rescue for two things – a good recipe to try, and whilst looking for that, a site showed up about how to freeze blackberries properly.

My haul
My haul

I had enough blackberries to freeze half and make this recipe too. You start with a pastry-like mix, which is pressed into a dish or tin, and then you add a syrupy blackberry mix before finally crumbling the remaining ‘pastry’ on top. It all ends up like a mix of blackberry pie and crumble, but all in a handy to hold slice.

Looking promising...
Looking promising…

It was easy to make, though not so easy to tell when it was done – maybe use a Pyrex dish so you can see through the glass to the pastry base. It tasted delicious but next time (with the blackberries I froze!) I’d use less lemon zest and juice as it did overpower slightly. Also, I’d keep it in the fridge, as it goes soggy very quickly!

Get in my belly!
Get in my belly!

Recipe here: http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/2013/07/blackberry-pie-bars/